On reading Stevens’ Esthetique du Mal,
I once again consider the Sublime
and what may be truly unknowable.

The Sublime marks those rare and fragile times
when the real nudges close to the ideas
we use to make up our contextual frame

for being’s abundance and chaos.
The noumenal world that our bodies know—
the moment that the sun struck iris flares—

is lost when the convulsive ripple flows
through the narrow path of the brain stem
to where it becomes symbol, language, prose.

Although, even with with language, we can tend
to look for meaning within obscure rhymes,
and with this ferreting often forget

sometimes the poem itself is what’s Sublime.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. peter litton
    Aug 16, 2012 @ 09:58:01

    I’ve never read Esthetique du Mal was Stephens writing about his wife’s mental ilness? Your poetry often provides more questions than answers.


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